Counselling Self Harmers
Self-harm counselling provides a confidential, supportive service for individuals who resort to self-harm in order to cope with deep-seated emotional issues and problems. Trained counsellors and therapists are able to provide sympathetic understanding so that the reasons for self-injury are expressed and explored in a safe environment.
What is Self-harm?Self-harm is a negative pattern of behaviour that is usually secretive and involves causing physical harm – by cutting, scalding, burning, banging or scratching – to self. It can also include the ingestion of toxic substances or objects.
The majority of self-harmers are aged between 11 and 25 years of age. Young people are more prone to expressing negative emotion in destructive ways because they are less able to cope with stressful situations that trigger feelings of emotional pressure, isolation and/or self-esteem. Situations like parental divorce or separation, for instance, can contribute to a build-up of emotional problems that a young person may not understand or be able to express in an appropriate manner.
Self-Harm IndicationsDealing with difficult emotional issues, and understanding how to cope with the challenges that arise from experiencing personal problems, can be overwhelming for some people. If there is no support network available an individual may turn inwards in order to cope with the feelings, thoughts and emotions that make them feel powerless or trapped.
Individuals who self-harm may do so because it enables them to manage unacceptable feelings of anger, provides a sense of control and expresses self-hatred and shame. Self-harming also offers a sense of emotional relief because it is seen as a way of legitimising personal pain.
Speaking in ConfidenceSelf-harming is a deeply personal emotional expression that is difficult to discuss openly. Self-harmers are unable to talk about the feelings, thoughts and emotions they are dealing with. Feeling comfortable talking to a counsellor, or therapist, who they have built rapport and a trusting relationship with, will enable them to discuss personal concerns that examine and explore the negative feelings that are bottled up.
Professional services, that are provided by a trained counsellor or therapist, bridge the gap between an individual - who is suffering emotional trauma, mental strain, anxiety and other personal issues - and positive feelings that are not present in an individual’s life. Counselling enables self-harmers to explore and accept the reasons why emotions are expressed through personal harming, instead of speech and action.
Talking TherapyTalking openly about personal issues and problems relaxes anxieties and creates a positive basis for continued therapy. In a counselling environment a self-harmer must feel comfortable, safe and supported. An individual who self-harms does not have to show their injuries or scars and will not be rushed through the counselling process. A GP or counselling nurse, however, will be required to check injuries in order to assess the correct type of counselling support or care.
With continued counselling support a self-harmer will gradually become more confident about speaking openly about emotions and will also gain insight into the issues concerning harming and communication of emotions.